It’s always a privilege to be given a chance to view the world through the perspective of another human being. It’s also been a fascination of mine, of the way in which words are used, and their meaning interpreted.
Despite the title of this blog, I attempt to portray here the very different ideas that people have, regarding the meaning of ‘rude’.
The events I portray here are true. Names and places have been changed to protect those involved, as I wish them no harm. Hopefully, they may find this missive, and take away some insight from reading it. I wish them well for the future.
I’ve presented events here in reverse order, with no particular reason other than a personal preference. If you prefer to read the story in it’s chronologically correct form, then read each numbered section in ascending order.
5. Email from Charles to Joe
Charles here, I am sorry that I was confused during the 2 minutes that you were in the office, but I did not ignore you and the courteous woman who was sitting beside me thought one of us was rude, but it was not me.
I simply could not match your face to the event, now while that is unfortunate and a failing on my part it is hardly a crime.
The solution to my problem was in fact within the casing of my mobile phone, as I needed to change the sim card which Vodafone had updated that morning, so that I could phone Miranda.
Miranda was the person you had the appointment with and although it does seem like an unlikely catalogue of events it is what happened.
Once again I am sorry that my memory is not what it once was and I wish you all the luck for the future.
4. Email from Joe to Miranda
thanks for your email, and your gracious apology.
Forgive my tardiness in replying, but I was driving most of yesterday, and wasn’t able to access my email until this morning. (I use a public network)
With regards to Tuesday, I always try to make the best of setbacks, and I continued on south to Coimbra, so it wasn’t a completely wasted morning.
I am not used to being blanked by a person I sat with and talked to for over half an hour the previous week, including helping him set up his mobile phone.
When Charles was obviously at a loss, he again removed the back from the mobile phone as if seeking a solution to his obvious dilemma within the phone casing.
My response was at first coldly humorous, mollified slightly by the friendly and courteous attitude of the young woman also in the office. With Charles’s continued confusion and ignoring me, I did the sensible thing and left.
I do not want to conduct business with anyone who is quite clearly out of their depth, as this would spell complications and issues I simply have neither the time, nor patience, to deal with. So it is with regret that I am declining your invitation to a new appointment.
3. Email from Miranda to Joe.
I’m sending my apologies as its completely my fault for missing this mornings appointment, i’ve tried to call you a few times as if you were returning to your rental which I think is Corvo way maybe you could
of passed Gois as this is where I am today, I am here all day if you have the inclination to call in.
Failing that If you would like to re book I will make sure I don’t miss the appointment again, I simply didn’t put it in my diary on Friday, a simple but stupid mistake.
Again my apologies,
2. We meet again.
I glanced in through the open office door. He was sat in his corner, a young woman next to him. I knocked.
He looked up from his computer screen. “Yes?”
No flicker of recognition on his face. No recall of our more-than-brief encounter only a few days before.
“My name is Joe Brown. I have an appointment here this morning at ten.”
No reply. Just a confused look.
I smiled. “Can I make a suggestion? I’ll go outside, you press your restart button, and I’ll come back in.”
He muttered something I didn’t quite catch. At that point the young lady got up and excused his confusion, blaming her own presence. I was somewhat mollified with that, she was quite personable and attractive, and perhaps she was right.
I looked again at him as my short conversation with her ended. He was still confused, first picking up his Skype headset, then finally taking the back off his mobile phone.
At that point I remarked. “I’ll tell you what Charles, let’s just leave it at that. I have better things to do.”
I then left. I have every sympathy with people who have been burdened with difficulties in their lives, but they should be protected, not thrust into the foreground of a forward-facing business such as estate-agency.
1. Face to face.
I had parked the car next to a theatre, knowing I would have quite a stroll to the office, but also making it easy for myself to find it again, and walked down to the crossroads.
I obtained directions from a Senhora sporting the uniform of the local Bomberos, who for reasons best known to herself, was filling up a bucket with water from a font at the side of the pathway.
It was a short walk, and I spotted the small office with it’s distinctive canopy sign.
He stood outside, untidy, overweight, and lifting a half-smoked, hand-rolled cigarette to his mouth.
Since he was mostly barring the door into the bijou office, I stopped in front of him. He acknowledged me with a “Good Morning. Can I help?”
“Are you associated with Manifestly Marvellous Marbella Mansions?” I asked.
He looked at me speculatively. There was a pause before he answered “Inexplicably.”
I considered him, and feeling my head tilt to one side, said “So you are, but you don’t know why?”
He registered mild surprise at my question. “Something like that.” He dropped the butt-end of his cigarette onto the pavement in front of us, and screwed it into the beautifully-laid white setts with his foot.
“I’m looking for to buy a house in Central Portugal, and thought I’d call in and see you to make an appointment for some viewings.” I held out my notebook, turned open at the page of listing references I’d made.
He took my book, looked at the page, and turned to enter the office.
If anything, it was smaller inside than it looked from the outside.
Two desks almost filled it. He squeezed past a gentleman and sat down in the corner. I hovered.
He turned to the gent and began to talk to him, then appeared to notice me again. “Can you just give me a minute to finish up here?”
I nodded, and made my way back outside, wandering up and down the short street looking in the windows of the mostly-closed shops, before finally making my way back to the front of the office.
Eventually I was sat next to him. Details were taken. Online forms were filled in. Several attempts to call someone using Skype were made, then given up in apparent frustration.
Then a box containing a brand-new mobile phone was unpacked, SIM and battery installed, then a small memory card, after it’s existence was pointed out by me. Then the English language had to be found.
Satisfactory service eventually being obtained, a call was made, and I finally left his office with an appointment date and time for the following week.